Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up — that means it’s nearly time for one of my very favorite movies: Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Darby O’Gill is a live-action Disney film from 1959. It doesn’t get as much attention as I think it should.
Darby O’Gill fiddles a tune for the Leprechauns, ©Disney
Reasons you should watch the Darby O’Gill and the Little People DVD:
- It has a pre-James Bond Sean Connery, in his first major film role.
- Sean Connery sings.
- Albert Sharpe as Darby O’Gill is the most inspired bit of casting, ever.
- The special effects are astounding — especially considering they didn’t have computers or blue screens to work with.
- Drinking, and whiskey, are openly celebrated — the high point is a drinking song with Darby O’Gill and the King of the Leprechauns.
- There are only a handful of extras on the DVD, but they’re excellent:
- A documentary on how they did the special effects, which is mind-blowing, in both its ingenuity and its simplicity
- “I Captured the King of the Leprechauns” — a whole black & white episode of the Disneyland TV show, with Walt Disney himself going to Ireland on the advice of his actor friend Pat O’Brien, where he meets Darby O’Gill, and talks the King of the Leprechauns into being in his movie.
- It’s just a damned fine little movie.
Darby O’Gill and King Brian share a jug of whiskey, ©Disney
Darby O’Gill and the Little People [Amazon.com]